Congress Wants Legacy Fighter Reports

The 2010 defense appropriations bill, now on its way to the President (see below), prohibits the Air Force from carrying out its plan to retire early some 250 legacy fighters pending April 1 delivery of the results of an independent review conducted by a federally funded research and development center. Use of an independent review takes the matter a step beyond Congressional calls for USAF to simply divulge more details of its legacy fighter plans, particularly as regards the air sovereignty alert mission. (The bill still directs USAF to provide details.) The bill also requires USAF to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of its plan to shift F-15 training from Tyndall AFB, Fla., to the Oregon Air National Guard's Kingsley Field. The service had wanted to advance that move to early 2010—now that plan is delayed until at least April.

We’ve Got To Start Now

Air Combat Command is starting soon to study the F-22 replacement or supplement—a 6th-generation fighter—Air Combat Command chief Gen. William Fraser said in an interview. “We’re in the very early stages of this and doing a capabilities-based assessment,” he said,...

Refresher Course

One thing that worries Air Combat Command chief Gen. William Fraser is making sure that his combat forces get the training they need for the toughest potential fights. “There’s a different training requirement needed with irregular warfare versus the high...

Spending Bill Headed to President

The Senate on Saturday passed the Fiscal 2010 defense appropriations bill, sending the measure to President Obama for signature. The House had passed the bill on Dec. 16. Despite Administration resistance, the measure continues the alternate engine for the F-35...

A Third Report

Before Congress will release funds for USAF to retire legacy fighters (see Congress Wants Legacy Fighter Reports), it wants USAF to report on the impacts to training and operational missions when USAF shares airport facilities with commercial operations. Kingsley Airfield,...

New Volley in WTO-Tanker Wars

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) and Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) and 123 other lawmakers signed a letter to President Obama last week, urging him to stand behind the US government's long-stated argument that "European governments illegally subsidized the development of Airbus aircraft," states the letter. In a joint statement with Dicks, Tiahrt said the current Pentagon position—essentially ignoring the World Trade Organization's interim ruling—is "unacceptable" and Dicks agreed, adding that "it is difficult to explain how the Pentagon can ignore the obvious implications for the tanker contract." Dicks and Tiahrt are ardent Boeing supporters in the KC-X tanker competition against the Northrop Grumman-EADS team. (EADS is parent to Airbus.) Dicks, Tiahrt, et al conclude, "When the WTO's final ruling in this matter confirms US claims that Airbus products were illegally subsidized, we will be committed to ensuring this principle is upheld."

Long-time Coming

According to a Washington Post report, Air Force officials said last week that the move to encrypt video feeds from MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted vehicles will take until at least 2014. An earlier Wall Street Journal report...

First ANG RPV Weapons School Grad

Earlier this month, Maj. Tammy Barlette, from the Arizona Air National Guard’s 214th Reconnaissance Group, became the first Reserve Component remotely piloted vehicle operator to graduate from the Air Force Weapons School Instructor Course at Nellis AFB, Nev. Barlette and...

USAF Takes Over Key Iraq Airfield

Airmen have taken over operations at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq from US marines, activating there the 532nd Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron on Dec. 15. The US drawdown in Iraq prompted the shift of responsibility. Al Asad currently is...

Minot Airman Receives Bronze Star

The Air Force has awarded a Bronze Star Medal to SrA. Gary Conlee with the 91st Security Support Squadron at Minot AFB, N.D., for his service while deployed to Afghanistan. He served there as a convoy technician working with the...

Air Sorties in SWA, 121609

Air Sorties in Southwest Asia, Dec. 16, 2009 Sortie Type OIF OEF OIF/OEF Total YTD ISR 30 27 57 16,683 CAS/Armed Recon 22 88 110 33,879 Airlift 157 157 47,532 Air refueling 42 42 16,555 Total 366 114,649 OIF=Operation Iraqi...